As the coaching session was drawing to a close, Renata gently reminded me to love myself.
I responded a little too quickly with an enthusiastic “Yes! I am always working on that”…
”Not too hard I hope?” she replied softly… ”Oh no, no” I assured her.
“Do you know Lisa?” she said with so much wisdom and knowing “you could choose to love yourself today. From this day forward and every day. You don’t need to work at it. Choose it and keep choosing it”
Do you remember the last time you received a message with such intensity – an ‘aha’ moment – it’s huge and you know your life has changed forever.
You will never be the same again. Well this was one of those moments for me. The truth of this message was so powerful yet so simple. Why had I never thought of it?
Maybe because I’d spent so much of my life busily justifying and reinforcing what I believed to be true about my world and myself. I hadn’t paused to listen to that wise voice – my inner knowing. Or maybe I had led myself to believe that like so much in life, I thought I had to work at it, to acquire it? Maybe I just wasn’t ready? I wasn’t yet willing to hear it? To feel the true force of it?
As I walked away I knew something had shifted. Something BIG! I could feel it in my body – as if each and every cell had absorbed this message. Why couldn’t it be that simple? Why couldn’t I choose to love myself no matter what? Why can’t we all choose it? Do we believe some of us deserve to and others don’t? Why must we strive towards loving ourselves? And who decides when we are loveable enough to love?
There was an excitement coursing through my veins. Like I imagine a young child often feels. This was a new way of being. I had regained my power to be me and to make my own choices - something I had spent most of my life giving away. As a 44 year old woman, and a mother of her own 3 children, I could choose how I want to feel; what I do (most days!); what I say yes and no to: and I could definitely choose to love me…no matter what!
So I pose the question to you now. What is stopping you from waking up tomorrow and making a new commitment to yourself from that day forward - to love yourself no matter what? No matter how long you’ve been suffering from a severe case of not loving yourself; no matter what you have said or done in the past; no matter whether you shouted at one of your children or said something unkind to a loved one; no matter whether you no longer fit into your favourite jeans. What if you chose to love yourself despite all of your excuses?
The mind boggles at how awesome life would be. And if I can do it, so can you. Yes, we’ve all got our own ‘sad’ stories that keep us trapped in the belief we can’t get over them. Well I made a promise to myself to cut the cord to the past and I’m moving forward. Maybe it’s time you did to?
If you are willing and open to embrace this commitment to yourself, here are 5 ways to support you in choosing to love yourself every day.
*NB - As we are creatures of habit, until these practices become more familiar than what we have been programmed to do, it is a great idea to pop sticky notes around the house/work and reminders on your phone or in your diary.
1. Set a daily intention
Each morning, choose to love yourself no matter what. As we know, where our attention goes, our energy flows. So throughout each day, continue to make this commitment to yourself.
2. Practice mindfulness
Prioritise and create the space daily to meditate; sit quietly and tune into your breath and body; do yoga; or any other mindful practice. It is the practice of regular mindful activities that allows us to “be with our experiences as they are in a non-judgemental way” (taken from Kristin Neff Ph.D., widely recognised as one of the leading experts on self-compassion). Through the practice of mindfulness, we also become more and more aware of our thoughts and language. Awareness gives us the opportunity to see the patterns and beliefs in order to then change the words and language we use towards ourselves first and then others. When we can experience life without attaching judgement or meaning, things start to change in the most miraculous ways.
3. Buddy up
Find a close friend who also wants to make this commitment and be each other’s buddy. You may very well experience challenges and it is so much less daunting and scary when you have a like-minded soul who’s there beside you!
4. Practice gratitude
How are you grateful for you? Each day, write a list of 3 things you are grateful for – for you! Try to come up with new things, no matter how big or small they may appear. The point of this amazing practice is by shining our light on all that we are, we will begin to focus less and less on what we think we lack.
5. Acknowledge your feelings
When we acknowledge exactly where we are and how we feel, there is no room for resisting or pushing our emotions and feelings away. We are then able to accept the “shadow” side of ourselves (to me that is true freedom). As A Course in Miracles student, when we are in that state of human suffering, we also know that it is a call for love. So all we need to do is show ourselves more love in that moment, no matter how ‘bad’ we feel.
As with anything we write about, we only share that which we are proactively embracing ourselves. And that which has lead to more freedom, more joy, more love and way more miracles!